Reign of Pharaohs

Skullduggery and Street Thuggery

Skirmish in the ruins

Summary: the group receives their third lottery, an abandoned temple of Nethys known as the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye. A band of street thugs is encountered, whom reveal that the Scorched Hand hired them to delay rival adventurers. The companions are greeted at the temple by unfriendly denizens .

Details

The companions visit the Grand Mausoleum to provide their report on the House of Pentheru as well as to benefit from the services of the good clerics of Pharasma. Several members receive healing, and the group receives their 3rd lottery site – an abandoned temple of Nethys, aptly named the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye. They return to the Tooth & Hootka for some much needed rest.

In the morning, the companions travel back to the necropolis. Krieg has a feeling that they are being watched, but is unable to locate the source. As they travel through a desolate plaza filled with decrepit buildings, the group is ambushed by Wati street thugs. The ambushers are hidden in the ruined buildings, and several pop up from the roofs of buildings to shoot down on the companions. Carrma is hit in a crossfire and goes down. Jill pulls him to safety while the rest of the group attempts to get their bearings.

Several thugs charge from the surrounding buildings and engage the companions in melee. Krieg and Va’var provide a defensive cordon while Captain Beefheart and Worwood attempt to pickoff the snipers. Beefheart takes down one with a well aimed bullet, and Jill returns to the melee to take down another with her polearm. The ambusher’s leader sneaks around the back to try to assassinate Beefheart, which proves unsuccessful. The assassin then turns invisible and flees.

As the tied of the battle turns, the two remaining ambushers throw down their weapons and surrender. The companions question them, which proves fruitful. The thugs were hired by a fiery female that matches the description of Velrianna, the leader of the Scorched Hand. It seems that she has learned of their lottery site and wants to beat them to the Sanctum. The thugs were hired to delay the companions. The group lets the two criminals go, on their word that they will report Velrianna to the Pharasmins. They agree, and are set loose.

A scream sounds in the distance. The companions investigate and see, in the distance, the assassin killing the two thugs, before he melts into the background. It seems news of the Scorched Hand’s indiscretion will not make it’s way to the authorities, yet.

The companions continue on to the abandoned temple. The structure does not conform to traditional architecture, with wings and extensions on both sides of the nave that, except for similar stonework, appear to have been haphazard additions. A large dome over the central apse tops the roof at the north end of the temple. The exterior walls are carved with likenesses of Nethys and other celestial figures.

No doors block the grand entrance to the building – a wide flight of stairs leads into the temple’s interior. As you climb the steps, Krieg notes that the building appears to be in remarkably good condition considering its age. The wind has deposited a layer of dust and sand on the floor of the entrance. Jill notes tracks in the sand and estimates a group of between 3 and 5 have entered.

At the top of the steps, the entry features two rows of columns that lead toward an archway in the north wall. There are three exits, smaller corridors that lead to the east and west, and a large entrance to the north leading to a large chamber dominated by a fountain.

Carrma detects a faint aura of necromancy in the area, and warns the group as a pack of skeletal jackals races from behind the columns. The rabid creatures charge the group to be met by set blades. The companions make quick work of the jackals. It seems they were recently raised, and likely but a macabre alarm system.

A quick glance to the west uncovers a dormitory, the east a kitchen area and baptismal pool. The companions decide it best to explore the main part of the temple first, and charge into the large hall. Space and elevation lend a sense of past grandeur and majesty in this large cathedral-like room. A large, star-shaped fountain with a circular pool in the center sits in the middle of the chamber. The bottom of the pool is decorated with a great mosaic eye, and hieroglyphs are carved into the paving stones ringing the fountain. Two rows of columns support the ceiling overhead, which continues to rise to a domed roof in the northern portion of the chamber. At the far end of the hall, a massive statue with arms raised overlooks the entire length of the temple from atop a raised dais.

The companions take a defensive position. Carrma investigates the hieroglyphs which identify it as the “Pool of Protection”. Detecting magic reveals a faint aura of abjuration and transmutation. The companions each, in turn, take a sip of the cool, clean water and receive a minor blessing. As Carrma continues her orison, she becomes overwhelmed by her magical awareness – it appears that the entire building is giving off some sort of aura. The companions opine that this might be why the building remains in such a good state of repair.

The group continues north to the raised dais to investigate the large statue of Nethys. As they near the platform, the wind rapidly picks up and a sandstorm forms in the middle of the large hall. Va’var detects a presence in the upper reaches of the apse before the storm blurs all vision. Captain Beefheart is compelled to run from the room by an unknown presence, and Jill chases after him, catching him at the southern exit. She tackles him to the floor, and the good Captain regains his senses.

The sandstorm recedes to reveal the desiccated forms of walking corpses at each exit, their mouths agape in a silent scream. The creatures attack the group, as the sounds of a summoning can be heard from above.

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